For a little while a girl my age and her dad lived at Dogwood Blossom. She didn’t have a mom kind of like I didn’t have a dad and we liked to play together. Her dad was really, really tall and nice. He would play with the kids and lift the brave, bigger kids into the rafters of the house which only he could do because he was so tall. But it wasn’t like the man who would put me on the roof. This was fun and the kids were laughing.
The girl had a grandma that lived really close by, right near the commune. I had never spent the night anywhere away from my mom and brother before but this girl and I were such good friends that they took me to spend the night one night at her grandma’s. This was one of the only times I’d ever been “off the farm” and although it wasn’t far at all, it was still another world. There was a swing set which was so amazingly fabulous. I’d never played on a nice, real swing set before and we got to play on it as much as we wanted, just the two of us, without sharing with dozens of other kids. It was an afternoon in heaven.
Then we went inside and they fed me turkey. Oh, it’s like tofu except I get to have a huge, honkin’ thick piece instead of a thin little slice of barely anything. And there’s so much of it. And they’re telling me I can have more and letting me eat as much as I want! Having so much food for only a few people was the exact opposite of our house! At our house anything yummy was carefully rationed out in tiny amounts among dozens and dozens of hungry people. The only thing we got large amounts of was disgusting stuff like oatmeal. This is marvelous.
Out on the porch, near the door that we used to run in and out of to the swing set, is a refrigerator and next to it is a enormous turkey bigger than me! It is so big it won’t go in the refrigerator – it is half the size of the refrigerator. I’m amazed at how big this stuff we’re eating is, that they tell me is called turkey. It is a big, smooth, weird thing. They also have two smaller ones. I couldn’t wait to tell everyone about this food, turkey! What an amazing discovery.
After we eat, my friends dad gets us ready for bed in another room and puts on our diapers. I had never had a man put on my diaper before. Laying there in this strange room with no pants on and a big man towering over me being the one to put on my diaper was like a dark cloud of doom had just rolled in and was putting a shadow of horror over everything making me utterly repulsed and sick to my stomach, in complete despair for my nice, pretty mom. This fun heaven was now a scary nightmare. I didn’t want him to put on my diaper. I didn’t want to be here anymore. I wanted home. Right now. As he put my diaper on I burst into a desperate fit of crying my brains out like I had never done before. My friend was surprised and concerned at my hysteria looking like she wished she could help me feel better. But there was nothing she could do for me. I couldn’t say anything to her because all I could do was cry in a dire need to be home so badly. I had never felt this horrible before. They tried to console me but I just kept crying for home. I wanted to explain but I couldn’t talk, I could only cry.
I cannot remember if I slept there or if they took me home.
Maybe this was the time or maybe it was another time around that age (these early memory flashes are hard to precisely timeline) when my mom carried me from our bus over to another bus in the neighborhood because I was so sick. Normally, as I wasn’t a baby anymore, she would not carry me that far but I was so sick I couldn’t walk and was all floppy and was just crying and crying. She plucked me out of my bed in our bus where I was laying sick and kind of scurried over there. I cried the whole way. I had never felt this weird. Everything looked weird. She carried me into one of the buses in a small conglomeration of buses along the road where a clinic kind of medical lady lived.
Her and my mom were super worried and frantic to take my temperature. I was ill on a phenomenal level of illness. I couldn’t stop crying long enough for them to put the thermometer in my mouth. They decided to do it in my butt. The lady had a son about my age who was standing there watching the whole thing with wide eyes. How embarrassing! I wanted to say no, please do not take the temperature in my butt in front of him! But I couldn’t talk, I could only scream, my whole body was taken over by some kind of madness and they quickly flipped me over and took my temperature in my butt. It was wretched. I didn’t think I could scream any harder…until they stuck my butthole with that cold little glass stick. Right in front of that boy.
I guess I told my mom about the turkey discovery…because I remember she wasn’t happy about it, she was very mad for a long time that they fed me turkey. Apparently, I had never eaten something called meat before and it had made me sick. I didn’t know what that was but I knew I had had a crazy, fantastical adventure that I’d never forget -with turkey- to tell the other kids about, a wild tale from the other side.